Despite university COVID-19 policy, students did not social distance during a fire drill Wednesday, Sept. 23 in the Huasna building of the Poly Canyon Village on-campus apartments, according to residents living there.

As residents of Huasna evacuated out of the building, they were met with groups of people not social distancing, biology sophomore Marga Diaz said.

“From the looks of it, I didn’t see anyone without a mask on, but the closeness of everyone didn’t look good, so my roommates and I went to the far end of the group to avoid contact,” Diaz said. 

Diaz lives on the fourth floor in the Huasna building.

Video by Alexis Bowlby

One of Diaz’s roommates, communication studies sophomore Michael Kaplan, is immunocompromised.

“I considered asking my RA if I could not participate, but ultimately the alarm sound was too shrill to deal with,” Kaplan said. “No one was social distancing though. I only saw one RA, who was talking to the emergency responders, and no one else enforcing it, it seemed like.”

Police officers were also on the scene to overlook the drill and they did nothing to enforce safety measures, according to Cooper Crabtree, a chemistry sophomore and Kaplan and Diaz’s roommate.

When the drill ended, residents quickly filed back inside the building, without social distancing, to return to their homes. 

Diaz said that the apartments seem understaffed as it is, and she does not blame the RAs for being unable to enforce social distancing.

“They are already doing so much,” Diaz said.

California state fire code, enforced by the State Fire Marshal, requires fire drills twice a year, University Spokesperson Matt Lazier said. 

The university expects students to be individually responsible for social distancing and abide by university safety policy. Violations of these policies are punishable by the university, Lazier said when asked about the fire drill.

“Overall it felt pretty aggravating and scary seeing this huge gathering of people who all live in our building not taking the necessary precautions to stay safe and keep others safe,” Crabtree said.

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